Audio Engineering: Architectural Acoustics

How Sound Works (In Rooms), Acoustic Geometry, John Calder, 2013, U.S.A.

Acoustics – An Introduction, Troldtekt A/S, 2010, Denmark


The purpose of audio engineers, specifically acoustic engineers, has been to design structures for optimal audio listening. This is accomplished “through the selection of certain construction and aesthetic materials and architectural features to reduce or enhance the overall noise level”(What Is Acoustic Engineering). The occupation looks like a real interesting application of something I enjoy. There are two types of ways, active and passive (Trufelman). Active acoustic engineering consists of electrical devices used to alter the soundscape of an area. Passive acoustic engineering is more common and deals with buildings, materials, and contours of the room. In the video, How Sound Works (In Rooms), two practical passive components are used, absorbers and diffusors. Absorbers take extra unwanted sound reflections out of the room and diffusors keep the reflections from continuing. Common places where this is used are churches, auditoriums, concert halls, movie theaters, and lecture halls. Once I get my own place I think it would be fun to design a room, like a home theater or bedroom, for optimal sound.


Acoustic engineering has been around since about the “12th century BC” (Mourjopoulos). The buildings used at the time were Greek and Roman amphitheaters. Some were designed for lessons and theater productions while others were designed for orchestra performances, each taking a different design for different occasions. As time went on and technology advanced, the spaces where acoustic engineering grew. The modern spaces include standard buildings, inter-space, interior space, and mechanical equipment (Architectural Acoustics). The modern “father of architectural acoustics” is Wallace Sabine, he is credited with developing a mathematical model for sounds, materials and their reverberations in a room. As electronic forms of sound became more common, a new branch of audio engineering was invented. For a recent electrical audio engineering history, visit the link below:

An Audio Timeline:

Acoustics – An Introduction does a good job explaining many terms used in the audio engineering world.


AES. “An Audio Timeline.” Audio Engineering Society, 13 June 2014,

“Architectural Acoustics.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 10 Apr. 2018,

Mourjopoulos, John. “The Origins of Building Acoustics for Theatre and Music Performances – John Mourjopoulos.” Acousticsorg, Acoustical Society of America, 2015,

Trufelman, Avery. “Reverb: The Evolution of Architectural Acoustics.” 99% Invisible, 99% Invisible, 14 Nov. 2016,

“What Is Acoustic Engineering.” What Is Engineering, 2016,


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